Thursday, January 29, 2009

Israel Day Eight!

Today we traveled to Haifa, up on the coast by the Mediterranean Sea. First we stopped at a cemetery by the seaport, called Templars Cemetery, where the first missionaries to come to Israel (then Palestine), are buried. Their names are John Clark, and Adolf Haag. This cemetery also has the first convert to the church from Israel, named Georg Grau.It turns out that having missionaries here as early as the 1800’s helped the church to get its foot in the door in Israel when it came to building the Jerusalem Center, so this is a very important place in church history. Here is a quote from a website HERE that talks about John Clark's history:
"His death was a great shock to all members of the family. Uncle John was distinguished for his love of books. My mother, (Annie Clark Tanner) considered him the scholar of the Clark family. He accepted a mission call and died while tracting in the Moslem area of Haifa, Palestine."
My last reference is to the remarks of Michael Christian given in my ward's sacrament meeting, September 8, 1991. Michael, along with others of the Clark Christian family, had just returned from visiting his parents, Clark and Laurel Christian, in Jerusalem, where his father was teaching at the Brigham Young University Learning Center. Michael was the last speaker. The others had talked about historical sites, but Michael talked about the building and the opposition from the people there in building the center. He said when Orson Hyde first dedicated the Holy Land in 1841 he felt there would be a Church Learning Center in Jerusalem. Wilford Woodruff mentioned the same message. President Kimball was there when the Orson Hyde Park was dedicated, and he felt the need so great that he searched out nine locations for the proposed center. He was inspired to pick the one on the Mount of Olives. The Church then started to make arrangements to begin building.
The Jewish people and churches caused trouble. They asked why our church should be allowed to have a building there, that our church never had been established there, and they did not want us there either. Then it was discovered that two Mormon missionaries were buried in a cemetery in Haifa, which proved our church had representatives in their country years before and had indeed established a foothold in the Holy Land.
As Michael spoke, goose pimples started up my back for I knew one of the graves was my Uncle John Clark. He was so anxious to do missionary work he went into a home where they had smallpox, contracted the disease and died there. My Grandfather Clark had a headstone of a half-grown tree put on his grave signifying only half of his life had been lived. Though my Grandfather Clark was unable to bring Uncle John's body home for burial, staying where it was served as a witness for truth, enabling our church to establish a learning center in Jerusalem. The scriptures tell us that by witnesses He will prove His word and the two missionaries were witnesses. The building was started with much opposition. In fact, when it was half built it was necessary that President and Sister Holland be sent there to talk with government officials. The eight-story building was completed in a magnificent location overlooking both the new Jerusalem and the old city of Jerusalem. "
They had a nice book to sign, telling why you were visiting the cemetery that day. There were many people who had come here to remember these missionaries, it was very touching.
It was an amazing place to visit! We went up into the city to the San Francisco Observatory, which was a beautiful view. This city looks a little more modern, and the views of the Mediterranean are just breathtaking. We also drove up to the grounds of the Baha’i shrine on the hillside of Haifa. The gardens there go 3 or 4 blocks up the hillside and are amazing. I can’t believe the work that went into making these grounds beautiful. It looked like LDS temple grounds would if they were here. Just gorgeous! We were able to get out and walk the grounds, and take pictures from both the top and bottom of the gardens. On our way back down, Michael pointed out a place that they were repairing, that was hit in 2006 by a Kitusha Rocket during the war with Lebanon. The building was just leveled, and they were rebuilding it, but he also pointed out the building across the street, that was riddled with holes from the shrapnel that the rockets are filled with. He said that during the war, the people of Northern Israel would have approximately 3 minutes to get to shelter each time a rocket was fired off. During that time, the air raid sirens would go off, and you would have to take cover. What a crazy way to live—can you imagine? Let’s hope we never find out.
We stopped for lunch/dinner—(linner), at a mall in Haifa. It was pretty neat to see a regular shopping mall, with tons of people. They don’t really have shopping malls in Jerusalem. We ate our first Schwarma (grilled turkey pita), and our first Falafel (fried chickpea balls) with hummus and toppings. They tasted okay—but truth be told , I was missing my American food by now!
On our way back to Galilee, we stopped in Nazareth at night just to look out at the city, and see the view. It is just a small city, on the hillside and it was beautiful at night. We got back to the hotel at 9:00, and we were so exhausted! I had a very good night’s sleep! Yeah for the Holiday Inn!

1 comment:

Sharla said...

You guys are so lucky to see all these sights. Thanks for sharing them with all of us. It's almost as good as being there ourselves! In fact, I was in Haifa two summers ago, so your beautiful pictures bring back memories. thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...